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France: COVID-19, inequality, and gig economy workers

By CEPR Policy Portal

This article shares findings of a survey of precarious workers in France, including gig economy workers such as food delivery bikers (using Deliveroo, Stuart, or Uber Eats applications) and drivers (Kapten or Le Cab for example).

The survey was carried out just before France went into lockdown (16 and 17 March 2020) and a few days after the lockdown (19 and 20 March 2020). Before the lockdown, many participants reported being worried about reduced income and activity in the near future according to findings from the survey. Indeed after lockdown, demand for services dropped off (though not entirely) and many workers in the sample stopped working (52%). However, 19% of them continued to work outside the home in order to continue to earn income.

The researchers warn that low-income workers will more likely experience health shocks related to COVID-19 and that the income supports in place will leave such workers exposed. This, they say, should be in the minds of policymakers as they debate options to navigate this pandemic.


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